Employers have unique sets of criteria when selecting the right persons for leadership positions. They often ask for a variety of personal information to ensure they have a comprehensive picture of the potential employee—resume, financial stability, family information, references—the list is endless. Candidates who seek church planter positions are assessed for many leadership competencies such as visioning, compassion for the lost and the unchurched, spousal support, and personal giftedness.
A formidable task lies before the prophet Samuel. God has rejected Saul as Israel’s king. Samuel is to find his successor in Bethlehem at the house of Jesse, a farmer and sheep owner. In Samuel’s mind, the choice is obvious: Eliab, Jesse’s firstborn. He seemingly has all the qualities people look for in a charismatic leader. To Samuel’s surprise, God offers him a valuable lesson in selecting leadership: “[Mortals] look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” God views matters differently with ways and thoughts that go beyond surface talk and personal observation. God examines the heart.
The Creator God has tirelessly searched for people who hunger and thirst for an intimate relationship. God finds that person in Jesse’s youngest son, David, a shepherd boy whose heart longed for and trusted God. How often do you judge people based on outward appearances? How hungry is your heart for God?
Almighty and loving God, give us the hunger and desire to pursue you with all our heart. Amen.
From a human perspective, we tend to judge people by appearances: how attractive they are, how wealthy they seem to be. God’s standard, however, is not outward appearance but the attitude of the heart. David was the youngest brother in his family, yet God knew his mighty heart and chose him as the next king of Israel. The psalmist declares that God gives victory to those who put their trust in God, not in the outward appearance of might. Jesus reinforces this truth with the parable of the mustard seed. Though the seed appears small, it grows into a robust plant. Paul tells the Corinthians that we should no longer judge people by what we see on the outside, for God changes what really matters—what is on the inside.
• Read 1 Samuel 15:34–16:13. What clear guidance has the Lord given you regarding an area of obedience in your life?
• Read Psalm 20. How has the Lord answered you when you called out during a critical moment in time?
• Read Mark 4:26-34. What prevents you from trusting God to use your testimony to lead others to Jesus Christ?
• Read 2 Corinthians 5:6-17. How does your trust in and obedience to God affect your personal conduct and your attitude toward others?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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